Our On Location partner Entrée Alaska is back with more good tips for visiting the Great Land.
Q: Tell us about Alaska for those considering a vacation.
Alaska is one of the world's most spectacular destinations, full of natural and raw beauty. It is a physically beautiful land, full of extremes and full of some of the warmest, most genuine and quirky people one would ever hope to meet. The people are as amazing as the scenery.
Alaska is a destination not to be missed with many fascinating places to see both on and off the beaten track. Visitors arriving by cruise ship into Juneau, Seward or Whittier or by commercial jet into Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau or Ketchikan have a wonderful experience ahead of them. There are amazing adventures you won't find anywhere else from Southeast Alaska, also known as The Inside Passage, (Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Glacier Bay) to Southcentral (Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage area) to Denali National Park and Fairbanks and even the Far North (Brooks Range and the Arctic)
Q: What options are there in conjunction with a cruise?
For those taking a cruise but wanting to do their own thing ashore, private shore excursions are available in most ports of call generally accommodating two to 20 guests at a time. One-of-a-kind excursions based on your specific, even whimsical, desires are possible. This is ideal for those who want to be personally greeted upon disembarkation and gently guided away in a civilized manner to an exceptional and personal tour with engaging locals.
Pre/post cruise trips to outstanding wilderness lodges in Denali, the Kenai Peninsula and Talkeetna are very popular as are bear viewing or fishing trips. Tours of 10-14 days show you the best Alaska has to offer with accommodation at small-scale remote lodges often fly-in or boat-in only. There are no roads to some of these locations!
Q: Any suggestions for families wanting to take an independent tour?
For those not wanting to take scheduled group tours, there is a wide assortment of custom-crafted options for independent travelers; singles, couples or groups/families. These give you the chance to select exactly what you want to do in Alaska and have some rather unique experiences. While the tours are independent, larger groups often choose to have escorts and private guides travel with them.
Q: Is it possible to visit Alaska's Arctic region?
As you know, the Arctic is an enormous region; one that is sparsely populated and offers very few basic services. This really is the last frontier of the Last Frontier. In general, activities in the Arctic are focused on visiting remote locations accessed only by small plane. My favorite way to showcase the region is the Sky Trekking program, where guests have their own private plane and pilot. The trips on average are four to six days, "hopping" from scenic vista to scenic vista with stops at small outpost villages that rarely get tourists. One of the highlights of this type of travel is the guest's exposure to authentic Alaskan life and the chance to access regional cultures via the expertise and personal connections of our pilot. It truly is one of the most life-altering ways to see this astounding region.
For those who don't have the time or budget for such a long exploration, there are Arctic adventure day trips via Fairbanks. An overnight is available for the adventure-minded traveler. Note while this is a very interesting place, it is not one for those looking for luxury.
Q: What culinary experiences should not be missed while in Alaska?
For sure you try the salmon and halibut! An outdoor salmon bake is featured on many tours and shore excursions and is a must. Fresh Alaska-grown oysters and our amazing crab are others you will no doubt have a chance to taste. As for drinking, there are many microbreweries creating some pretty great local brews.
Please send us a message if you have any questions or comments about anything you see in the e-zine. We'd love to hear from you!